Victoria killer tells inquiry she is innocent and defends social worker

Convicted murderer Marie-Therese Kouao pleaded her innocence and
refused to answer questions about her personal life at the Victoria
Climbie inquiry, writes Lauren

Kouao, Victoria’s great aunt, and her boyfriend Carl Manning,
were sentenced to life imprisonment last January for the
eight-year-old’s murder.

But Kouao told inquiry chairman Lord Laming that she had loved
Victoria as a daughter and did not hurt her.

“How can you put a human being in a bag? You would not even put
an animal in a bag. I refuse to listen to this. I was loving that
little girl. She was my daughter in my heart,” she said.

She said that Victoria’s real killers were the doctors who gave
her an injection which sent her body into spasm. Kouao also
insisted that she was married and that Manning was not her
boyfriend but her landlord and a good friend.

She dismissed suggestions that she had coached Victoria to make
sexual abuse allegations against Manning in order to obtain

Speaking half in English and half in French Kouao vehemently
rejected allegations that she had failed to take Victoria to
hospital immediately after she allegedly scalded herself in the

“When this just happened I went straight away to the hospital. I
did not get dressed – I take what I find to put on her. My mind was
to be quick in the hospital to give a chance to the doctor.”

She also claimed that the photos of Victoria covered in burns
reproduced in the media had been faked.

Kouao went on to refute criticisms of Victoria’s social worker
Lisa Arthurworrey.

“The social worker never did anything wrong…if the social
worker saw her body like in the picture do you think she can still
leave her to me? Her body was not like that. Her body came like
that after her death.”

Imran Khan, the solicitor for Victoria’s parents Berthe and
Francis, said they had hoped Kouao would show some remorse and
provide some information to assist the inquiry, but this had been a
“lost opportunity”.

Khan said that having heard Kouao’s evidence it seemed
impossible to imagine how she could have “hoodwinked” the various
professionals she came into contact with. “It’s our view that
somebody who should have spent some time with her should have got
through the tissue of lies.”





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